Wreck-It Ralph managed to be something of a surprise, perhaps owing to the fact that the trailers didn’t sell it’s abilities, and made it seem like an excuse to throw video game icons at you, and it’s another film in a long line that now become labeled “in any other year.” At least it has some big award wins though.
The story of the titular video game character who, after a 30 year run, finds himself losing himself in his own existence. He doesn’t want to be a bad guy. He wants to be the one who gets a medal this time. Most importantly, he’s tired of the way everyone else in his own game treats him. As the triple decade anniversary approaches, Ralph decides to try to switch things up a bit.
Moving from one video game to the next, Ralph (John C. Reilly) vows to bring home a medal, but then is forced into quite the adventure in order to get it all the way home. The endeavor brings Ralph to a candy-themed racing game, but causes problems in the rest of the arcade world, leaving it up to Fix-It Felix to find Ralph before their game gets unplugged.
The film has fantastic heart, and though it is filled with fun and comic moments, it stands out for the way it manages to mold and shape its characters. Ralph’s gruff personality and Vanellope’s (Sarah Silverman) bubbly prankster whirlwind grate on each other in a way that creates a curious ability to believe and follow along with them that spills over into everything else we see. That’s a richer statement than it might seem, because we’ve got more than the usual layers of the unbelievable at play here, even after you get past the synopsis.
It has plenty to keep you entertained, and zips along like you’d hope a video game film would, but it knows when to slow down, without ever feeling like it’s switching gears completely. That’s a tall order, especially considering the odd mix of relevancy the movie is battling. The nostalgia is lost on its main viewers, who have no clue what putting quarters on a console might reference, and the zanier antics have to capture those who don’t have to ask who Q-bert is.
Considering that the film is not only animated, but entrenched in such a specific plot genre, you’d think that the most amazing thing you could say about the film is that all of its characters deliver such a solid transformation, but I wonder. Frankly, that the characters are evolve, thus rendering some meaning to the story we’re telling, is something it’s hard to say about most films these days, but if I’m forced to think about it, those of the animated variety aren’t on the short end of that supply line.
If you told me going in that Wreck-It Ralph would be an instant classic, and a strong contender for Best Animated film of the year, I wouldn’t have believed for a second. That’s what we have though, and it’s an equal treat for young and old alike.
Unfortunately, given the nature of this release, and the great reception from critics and audiences, you’d think there would be more to sink your teeth into when it came to bonus features. This is even more true when you think about the young audience interest in what we have.
We get some deleted scenes, with optional commentary, and these are actually a nice treat. As with most animated deleted scenes, you’re getting storyboard presentations, but these are far more of a bonus than what you get from a standard film. Rather than simply a quick take that didn’t make it past editing, these showcase different directions things might have gone, and are the result of a larger process. They’re fun, though they only amount to so much.
You also get the recent Academy Award winner Paperman included, and that actually adds some value to things. I don’t know how many times people need to see it, but it’s a nice short.
Bit by Bit: Creating the Worlds of “Wreck-It Ralph” is a featurette that goes behind-the-scenes, and is ultimately pretty standard fare. It somehow manages bonus points for being the standard offering of such a great film, but I don’t know that everyone will see it that way. It could have been longer, but it gets to the meat of things and provides an entertaining look at just what goes into such a complex construction.
Then you’ve also got some trailers for the video games created for the film, and they’re worth a look, but again, they only add so much.
Finally, and best of all, the Blu-Ray offers up an Intermission feature. We just saw this on the recent release of Peter Pan, and it’s the same basic idea. Pause the film and a featurette kicks into gear. This time we’ve got an exploration of the video games via 10 video segments that explore things like the easter eggs in the film and the variety of early era video game references. They’re a lot of fun.
It may seem like a fair amount to add to the film, but I expected more to go with such a release. Maybe it’s quality over quantity.
Below check out a concept art gallery and several clips, including two from the bonus features.
If you haven’t caught our Podcast review for Wreck-It Ralph yet, check it out here.
Wreck-It Ralph Concept Art Gallery